Why weren’t CBS announcers called out?Published 12:00am Wednesday, December 4, 2013
To the editor:
As “The University” (University of Texas) is my alma mater, I have no dog in who won the Iron Bowl game. It does intrigue me that people all over Alabama have such loyalty to either one of these teams, no matter whether they have ever visited Toomer’s Corner or Tuscaloosa, or for that matter ever whether they have graduated from high school. I’ve personally seen it cause fights and rifts in the same families. It’s as if it is the greatest rivalry in the U.S. I guess the folks that think this have never seen the atmosphere surrounding an Ohio State-Michigan football game. They don’t call the Michigan stadium the “big house” for nothing as it seats far more than anyplace in the SEC. But in terms of loyalty, I’ve never seen an in-state rivalry equal to the Alabama one except probably years ago Florida-Florida State or USC/UCLA back when all of their programs were in the top five or 10. When Florida coach Steve Spurrier called FSU “free shoes university” the rivalry was as heated as they get.
Almost exactly 30 years ago, the man termed the greatest football announcer in history by TV Guide changed his career irrevocably by referring to receiver Alvin Jenkins as “little monkey” after a spectacular catch. The phrase was clearly one of respect and a compliment. Although Howard Cosell was Jewish and had clearly done so many things for African-Americans, including Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Cassius Clay, and many other non-sports causes, he was vilified as a “racist” by the SCLC’s Joseph Lowery. Nothing was further from the truth.
So here today, 30 years later, we have a CBS announcer of the Alabama-Auburn game say after the last play that Alabama had all their “fat guys” and “non-athletes” on the field who simply knew how to block, not tackle. Even if this does have a smidgen of truth to it if you’re at a drunken bar, you just don’t call guys who play top-ranked football by these terms. Saban later said his players were warned and prepared and practiced for a return, but they simply did not execute.
I find it interesting that I have seen no coverage of these disparaging and unneeded comments by a national network about the Alabama special team unit on the field on the final play.